Pebble Time smartwatch raises record-breaking $20.3 million on Kickstarter

29 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

If a smartwatch replaces your keys, here’s what you put on your keychain.

It’s no exploding kitten, nor is it a new space-based massively multiplayer online game, but Pebble’s new Time smartwatch—which the company launched on Kickstarter—has raised a record amount in its short month of fundraising.Nomad has already built a reputation for its mini versions of charging cables for gadgets, including micro USB cables that fit on your keyring, and a version for Apple’s Lightning connector. At the time, Kickstarter claimed that “Pebble is the fastest project to ever raise $1 million on Kickstarter.” In 48 hours, the Pebble Time project surpassed the total amount raised by the original Pebble on Kickstarter ($10,266,845). The right mix of hardware will already let you control certain smart locks and start certain automobiles straight from the wrist, and this will only become more prevalent with time. “Not so fast,” you protest. “What happens when my smartwatch’s battery dies on my way back to the parking lot, genius?

It managed to raise just around $20.3 million from 78,358 backers, beating the now-second-place Kickstarter project, the Coolest Cooler, which only managed to pull in (a mere) $13.2 million this past March. Costing $19.95, the NomadKey for Pebble is built specifically for the original version of the watch that came to fruition thanks to more than $10 million in Kickstarter funding three years ago. Pebble sold its first smartwatch on Kickstarter back in 2012 and, just a few weeks before the Apple Watch launch, has proved it can still drive considerable demand.

The issue of battery life is compounded by the fact that the Pebble uses a proprietary charging cable, meaning users are less likely to have access to it should the timepiece run out of juice unexpectedly. Let’s be clear: This particular NomadKey is not going to save you from a potential lockout, at least not unless you’re in the habit of lugging a laptop around wherever you go. That honor goes to Chris Roberts’ upcoming Star Citizen MMO, which has raised $76 million (and counting) since the launch of its fundraising campaign in October of 2012. There is little question Nomad’s portable products bring much convenience to the mix, but $19.95 does feel a little on the expensive side for what is essentially a small charging cable with a hole on the end to attach to your keys. A whopping 219,382 (mostly) paid $35 each to get their hands on a copy of the card game, which is expected to start shipping out in July of this year.

It’s also worth noting here that Nomad itself came to life thanks to funding garnered through Kickstarter, so this development helps to illustrate the ecosystem of products that are sprouting up through crowdfunding. The new smartwatch is also 20 percent thinner than its predecessor, and it comes with a new microphone that allows for voice-based responses to smartwatch events (if you’re pairing your smartwatch to an Android phone, at least; iOS users are a bit more limited).

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